Suga Govt-Backed Incumbent Wins Mayoral Race in Okinawa


Naha, Okinawa Pref., Feb. 7 (Jiji Press)--Tetsuji Matsumoto, an independent supported by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's administration, won his third term as mayor of Urasoe, Okinawa Prefecture, in an election on Sunday.

Matsumoto, 53, defeated Yuki Irei, 38, an independent and former Urasoe city assembly member backed by the so-called All Okinawa camp, which supports Denny Tamaki, governor of the southernmost Japan prefecture.

A focal issue in the mayoral election was whether the U.S. military's Naha Port Facility in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, should be relocated to Urasoe. Matsumoto, who tolerates the port facility construction in Urasoe and secured the cooperation of the Suga government, drew voter support, while Irei, who stood against the relocation plan, fell behind even though she had the backing of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and other opposition parties.

Both the Suga administration and the All Okinawa camp regard the mayoral races in Urasoe and two more cities in Okinawa, Miyakojima and Uruma, as precursors to next year's gubernatorial election in Okinawa. In the Miyakojima mayoral poll in January, the incumbent backed the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its coalition partner, Komeito, lost to a rookie backed by opposition parties. The poll in Uruma is set to be held in April.

Voter turnout in the Urasoe mayoral election came to 62.98 pct, surpassing the previous poll's 61.37 pct.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press